Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave
Rick Yancey

I must admit I was taken aback when I finished The 5th Wave. I opened the front cover expecting to be let into a world very similar to that of The Hunger Games, Divergent, or even City of Bones. Boy, was I wrong. Yes, The 5th Wave shares a lot of the same themes and attributes that are hungered after and devoured by today's YA readers: adventure, heroism, fighting, survival, unlikely friendships, romance, and the unexpected. However, Rick Yancey wrote his novel in a way that sets the bar for YA books even higher, and he creatively sets these themes in an alien apocalypse that, as our protagonist Cassie points out, has no "flying saucers and little green men and giant mechanical spiders spitting out death rays." Yancey’s version of aliens taking over the world is much more advanced, horrifying, and chillingly unpredictable.

The 5th Wave starts off with Cassie describing the state of disaster the earth is in. Unlike the narrators in a lot of other young adult books, Cassie sounds so real, as if she is right beside me describing everything as she vividly remembers it. Cassie is one of the few female protagonists I have come across who seems like a real person and not some robot who feels scripted. In fact, Yancey did a fantastic job creating all his characters.

The thing I loved the most about The 5th Wave, though, was that it was about aliens. But not just any aliens. Yancey takes the whole alien apocalypse idea and puts a new spin on it. The notion of "little green men" is often laughable, but the invaders in this book seemed more real than any others I’ve read about, which  made me think that Yancey’s book could be an allegory for how we humans treat each other in our own world.

The romance in The Fifth Wave is just at the right caliber: realistic enough so we know it's there, but not so much that it's overkill. Those who love reading about the relationships and those who just want to get on with the story will both be satisfied. The 5th Wave is easy to follow, action packed, quick paced, and refreshing.

- Ellie

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